Monday, March 22, 2010

Are the Boy Scouts Ready for Ethan?

It's been nearly a month since my son Ethan "bridged" (i.e. graduated) from the Cub Scouts of Pack 621 to Boy Scouts the last weekend of February.

This was a 5-year journey of some note, beginning in 1st grade which is the "Tiger" rank all the way to 5th grade and his Webelos 2 rank. As a parent and coincidentally the Pack Cubmaster for several of those years I couldn't be more proud of his accomplishments.

In that short amount of time, the experiences we shared include but are certainly not limited to:
  • Ft. Rosecrans flag placement
  • Visiting Fire Station #40
  • Snow day at Big Bear
  • Webelos Woods camp at Mataguay Boy Scout Ranch
  • The Traveler achievement
  • Den meeting at Heritage park in Poway
  • ARC camp at Camp Balboa
  • Summertime bowling
  • Every Pinewood Derby race, but most especially the last one where Etho won and will represent Pack 621 at the annual San Diego 500 this April
Pack 621 celebrates these occasions with a combination annual "Blue & Gold" part and bridging ceremony led by the Order of the Arrow, a special group within Boy Scouts that help such things.  It's a Pack event with each Den represented as well, and lots of parents and grand parents enjoying the spectacle.

The celebration and bridging ceremony this year also coincided with the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. This is obviously a huge deal for the organization and they've gone all out to note the accomplishment and look ahead to the next 100 years (God willing!). Their "Adventure Base" making the trek around the country is a visible example, as are the Centennial ring patches that fit around the World Crest badge on uniforms.

We had 6 boys bridge over to 3 different Boy Scout "Troops" (vs. "Packs" in the Cub Scouts). Troop 676, Troop 622 and Troop 648 all welcomed the boys by calling them over a Bridge symbolizing the Scout Law that was built by Mark Mallrich (alum of P621) and switching out their neckerchiefs and epaulets.

So, after 5 years, Ethan and I are on a new Scout journey. He's joined T648 and is working towards his "Tenderfoot" rank. He's in a new Patrol called the "Flying Squirrels" and by all accounts loving it. The Troop is made up of a lot of pretty cool kids, insofar as I can tell.  I especially like the way the older boys treat the younger ones with respect.

It's far too challenging to eloquently sum up how one feels when your child passes from one special place in his life to another, so I'll just let a few more pictures do the talking...